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Old Tom - Frederic Robinson Limited

Not Rated.
Old TomOld Tom

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

159 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 159
Reviews: 94
rAvg: 3.74
pDev: 12.3%
Wants: 2
Gots: 11 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Frederic Robinson Limited visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
English Strong Ale |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: cokes on 01-13-2003

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (11) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 159 | Reviews: 94
Photo of beergoot
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark mahogany colored body with thick, rich, dense head. Caramel and dark fruits; plums; black strap molasses. Dark, roasted grain flavors with bright, fruity esters; decent bitterness; a mild touch of alcohol. Medium bodied, leaning towards the heavy side; mildly aggressive carbonation on the tongue; semi-dry finish.

An interesting and overall very enjoyable strong ale. There is a slight hint of tannins and phenolics in the flavor although it doesn't detract from things. Very much a dark malt and alcohol focused beer without any heavy-handed residual sugars or excessive booziness. The body is a little bit on the weak side but shouldn't matter to most folks as the appeal to the other senses is solid.

Photo of deadonhisfeet
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I cellared this bottle for at least 8 months before cracking it open a pouring it into a Bruery snifter. The pour is very dark reddish-brown with only a slip of light escaping through. It sports a massive tan head that lasts and lasts. Overall a really impressive-looking pour. I'm loving the nose on this beer too. Lots of toffee, sweet malt, dark fruit, leather, and a hint of tobacco.

Nice medium body with a firm feel and a malt-forward flavor. Not as much malt complexity as I had hoped and there is a little too much booziness on the back end, but still enjoyable. There is a malty, fudgy, slightly smoky blend of flavors up front that persist across mid-palate where they are met by booze and dark fruit. The booze overwhelms the remaining flavors and lingers on the finish.

Not a bad beer, but not quite as good as I hoped it would be. I could try aging the booziness out of this beer, but don't see the point. I'm confident there are superior offerings out there.

Photo of safaricook
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%

Very dark, good foam for such a brew
Smells of toffee, molasses, roast then some fruity esters and booze
Toffe, fruity, roast, a bit astringent, metallic but not in a bad way, ends on a bitter note
Quite zingy but otherwise apropriate body, warming alcohol
Enjoyable strong ale that does not hide its alcohol

Photo of chinchill
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dark red brown with a decent head.
Toffee and medium malts on the nose.
Rich and pleasant but not very complex malty flavor.
Way better than Chocolate Old Tom.

Photo of Ozzylizard
4.25/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

$ 4.29/11.2 oz bottle at Vintage Estates in Boardman, OH
Bottle marked L3346 21:51 at 45 degrees into standard pint glass
Aroma of earth and pepper, some maltiness
Head large (5 cm), light brown, frothy, diminishing to 3 mm layer
Lacing very good – thick ring extending from the top of the glass to the beers surface, mostly small bubbles
Body very attractive red-amber, clear
Flavor follows the nose – very woody and earthy with some peppery spice – no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate medium, creamy, soft carbonation

Excellent ale – I could drink this all day if it had a better price point. Oh well; champagne tastes and a beer budget!

Photo of JoeAmerican77
4.23/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bought from the Aeon at American Village, Okinawa.

A - Pours thick and dark like espresso with a fine two fingers of dark cream on top.
S - Coffey, toffee, caramel, mocha, mollasses, anything and everything delicious
T - The first thing that hits is the Belgique yeast explosion on my tongue, followed shortly by roasted malts and a smattering of the above scents becoming flavor in addition to sweet pit fruits, namely red cherries.
M - Medium to heavy on the tongue with staying power and warmth from the booze. Extremely pleasant carbonation fits the bill nicely.

Overall: This beer came right out of nowhere and made my night. It is always a relief to find good beers in Okinawa, this being a classic no less.

Photo of BeerDocT
4.26/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Label proclaims it the "World's Best Ale." Hmph. We'll see.

Appearance 3.75: Pours out a murky, opaque dark brown. Very little head and no lacing. Still, this is quite a difference from your typical yellow ale.

Smell 4.50: Ho, wow! As I poured this brew in the bottle, a big wave of malt and caramel seeped up and hit me in the olfactory senses! Amazing bouquet on this beer. Malt, caramel, grassy hops, butterscotch, I could go on but won't.

Taste 4.25: Front is slightly sweet and tart with a lovely hint of malted barley. Middle is slightly caramely with more of the barley and a very nice hint of grassy hops. Finish is so smooth with just a delightful blend of caramely, buttery malt and light hops. Balanced and no over the top sweetness. Aftertaste is long and you get more of that lovely malt along with a pleasant earthy taste reminiscent of porta bella mushrooms.

Mouthfeel 4.0: Beautiful and balanced and outstanding.

Overall 4.25: Excellent beer. Big, balanced and no hint at all of its 8%+ ABV. Smooth, delicious and just an excellent ale, this baby may very well be the best of its kind in the world. It really reminds me of a Scottish ale, what with its deep malt obsession, but it does have the English interest in hops about it as well. This beer was a revelation to me, certainly one I had not heard of before, but certainly one I will buy again, this time in bulk. Highly recommended.

Photo of Bouleboubier
4.46/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(poured into a balloon)

A: very dark, reddish-brown liquid, clear.... almost an inch of spongy tan foam on the pour - thought it would stay longer - alas, it did not - settled into a ring around the edge

S: gotta say - this almost smells like Abt 12(?!)... very fruity - sort of strawberry, grape, cherry.... bold presence of dark caramel, sweetish, desserty - perhaps a mild, sweetish coffee in there?... the booze is more felt in the nose than overtly detected as a scent - in other words, it's tucked far back behind the other aromas

T: raisin, cherry skin, dark brown sugar syrup up front... fairly assertive, tonic-herbal nuance starts around midway, coursing through the finish, ending with dark, dried cherry, toffee, and a medicinal booze (akin to Ny-Quil?) in the aftertaste - just hanging there... gotta be judicious, nearly indulgent use of dark invert sugars here - I wouldn't call this necessarily sweet - superb balance from alcohol and bitterness tempers it, at least - but the melanoidin-derived flavors associated with candy sugar are all too present... the bitterness grows fairly assertive after long. raining down on and flooding the palate - thank heavens for it!

M: approaching fullish-ness - actually, considering what the flavors suggest, I'm surprised it's not a notch or two more viscous - a soft rinse of suds seem to balance that with a phantom rush of clean booze on its heels... vaguely-menthol cooling sensation at the back of the throat after the finish...

O: fan-damn-tastic!... is this what a latter-day Burton Ale tasted like? I've found few British imports here in the States that have tasted quite like this... can't help but pick up another bottle

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.98/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

all old ale should taste like this. old tom is a classic, a genuine no frills english ale of the highest class. underrated as they get, this is everything we think about when we envision old world english evenings turning into late nights, and as claystation phrased it so eloquently, one sip and you expect to be visited by the ghosts of christmas past present and future all at once. its got just enough dark malt roast without being bitter like darker ales, rich enough, without being sweet at all, even dry in fact, and hefty while still being sturdy yet sessionable. its winter beer for me i think, but its not that confined. the combination of grain and yeast in this is impressive, i dont wish for anything else. a great balance between dark and light as well as strong and approachable are on display here. one of the more enjoyable beers on the market at about five bucks a bottle, it is an overwhelming success and a fantastic example of what true english old ale should taste like and feel like. a blue collar treat.

Photo of artoolemomo
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance- Pours up an okay amount of head which has better retention. The head is a medium khaki/beige while the body is a murky chestnut brown which appears as a hazy maroon when held up to the light. Lacing seems to be solid and consists mostly of sheeting.

Nose- This is dominated by warm and inviting malt. Starts off with banana, moves to molasses and honey, and then finishes with caramel. It takes a while but slight notes of raisins do appear. Swirling doesn't reveal anything else.

Taste- This is not a beer to be taken lightly and while the heat might not be that strong, you can tell right away. Heavy malts with caramel and raisins being the biggest notes initially while a honey and syrup note seem to coat the back end. Almost reminds me a honey liqueur. Some bitterness on the backend- mostly of the woody variety. Strikes me as little thin and doesn't seem to work for this beer. Some notes of pepper but really could use more presence and complexity. Especially for a beer that proclaims to be the “The World's Best Ale.” Still pretty solid as the initial heat begins to diminish and the honey, caramel, and raisin take over. Very syrupy. Some citrus and burnt caramel around the edges. Between above average and good, solid beer. No flaws but doesn't do anything amazing.

Mouthfeel- Almost medium bodied but it might just be the heaviness of the syrup on the palate that suggests this. Carbonation is rather subdued.

Drinkability- Fairly easygoing but does take some time warming up to. Lively enough amongst many English beers but rather docile by American standards. A little much at 5 bucks a 330 mL beer. Would be interesting to try it on draught.

Overall- Above average to good beer. Seems fairly true to a style that I don't have much experience with. I'll have to track down a Bracia to get a firmer idea of the English Strong Ale. Definitely worth a shot as I can see this beer having fans.

Photo of ISmith87
3.83/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - 4 - This beer is a really dark brown mahogany color with a nice ring of head that sticks around and leaves a nice lacing on the glass. Bottle is cool looking, nice old style, dark design.

S - 4 - Really nice old ale smell - caramel, coconut, booze, hop bite, vanilla, bourbon.

T - 3.75 - Not as full as you might expect from the smell, it's good though. Same notes come out in the taste. Maybe a little bit more boozey than I'd want, it would probably be really good aged. Caramel, coconut, bourbon, vanilla, hops.

M - 3.75 - Medium - heavy mouthfeel. Alc is present, at 8.5% almost a little too much. Aftertaste is nice vanilla caramel.

O - 3.75 - This is a good old ale, but not the best by far. The American made ones are more smooth w less booze taste - like Bell's Third Coast Old Ale and Double DBA.

Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.18/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Squat 330ml bottle purchased from Stanmore Cellars.

Uncaps without much ceremony, a minor hiss that releases a tiny amount of carbonation. Body is a deepish, oily brown with a seeming clarity in the thinner parts of the glass. Head forms a very fine mesh across the top, eventually petering out to a thin but creamy ring. Carbonation is powdery. Overall, it looks pretty good.

Nose is malt-heavy, but with a distinct savoury overtone. Like rich malt extract spiked with seaweed glutamates. Some grainy notes come through as well, which somewhat add to the body of the savoury character, although they don't really add any additional savoury notes themselves. As it warms, the sweetness comes through a little more, giving some wild honey and crushed biscuits. Not bad.

Smooth entry on the palate belies the strong heat which pounces on the second half, leaving a sherry-like boozy ache on the back. The sweetness drops out about three quarters of the way in, leaving it malt-poor on the finish, and leaving the finish reminiscent of ink. Slight oxidation characters don't help this assuage this impression.

Feel is smooth enough on the entry, but it disappears as the booze increases, leaving it volatile and hot in the mouth.

Overall: watch out. This has an unpleasant heat to the booziness on the back that's not matched by enough flavour to give it structure or purpose. By the end, I felt a little bit battered.

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.34/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very dark coloring, nearly black, with a beautiful off-white, creamy head above. Wonderful.

Aroma: deceptively soft, smooth and creamy. Malty-sweet, but even-tempered and expertly balanced.

Taste: Enters the palate full, rich and in complete domination. Rowdy, ruddy, and taking no prisoners. This brew tastes like an old tom behaves, it throws itself around without regard for societal norms and common regard. Dark fruit on the flavor, some spice, massive malt, some toffee and a touch of caramel. All very well-played and perfectly put. No over-weening hops, no over-bearing malt, but this is still a large beer, just like any Tom Cat strutting it's stuff.

Philosophical question: is the American barley-wine style better because it's bigger, and hoppier? I say, not necessarily. If you can't handle some subtlety, if you need to be pounded on by every beer you try, …well, you're missing a lot. There is so much to be said with just plain old good taste. This is a barley-wine, but don't expect a ton of American-style over-hopping. Don't expect to be burned by over-…alcoholing…?
What's wrong with the classics, I ask, and I don't expect an answer, because I know what it should be. If you want something delicious, and beautiful, cool, calm and slightly cacophonous, Old Tom's your man. Deee-lightful. Tasty, tasty, tas-teee……

this is so good, so malty, cool, calm, and utterly lovely. My goodness. I like this more and more, as I drink it down. I'm practically in love with it, ...mmmm.

Photo of avalon07
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a brownish-red color and a slightly hazy texture. There was a big, off white, long-lasting foamy head. Very good lacing.

S: An interesting aroma of malt, caramel, and a vinous quality.

T: Tasted of caramel, dark fruit (plums especially), malt, light hops, and the aforementioned vinous quality. A solid flavor here. At first it seemed a little thin, but seemed to get better as it went along. Subtle, yet complex.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a somewhat boozy finish. Medium-bodied.

O: A well done, oddly likeable beer. Definitely tasty and drinkable.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an almost opaque super brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, caramel, molasses, and slight dark fruit aromas. Taste is much the same with dark fruit, toffee, and alcohol flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is slightly strong and boozy.

Photo of humulus
3.74/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A. deep chocolate brown with a two finger beige thick head.

S: dark fruits, cane syrup, roasted malt.

T: tawny port, coffee, chocolate, dark fruit.

M: smooth, creamy, medium low carbonation

O: very tasty, could do with a bit of ageing. Putting a few bottles away for Christmas 2014 seems like a good investment.

Drank during a warm summers day, so not ideal conditions for this type of beer.

Drank from a snifter.

Photo of flyingpig
3.43/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

330ml Bottle from Asda Supermarket:
Chestnut brown with a few red tinges and a tiny, white to tan lace on top that turns patchy fairly quickly.

Fruity, sweet malts and a lot of alcohol on the nose with some darker, strong fruits and berries coming through. There was also a touch of caramel and some rich fruits with sugar. Pleasant but perhaps the alcohol could have been hidden slightly better.

Sweet with some alcohol but not as much as with the smell, there is however the same, strong fruit and richness. I could detect some plums and a few other darker fruits with some caramel and toffee coming through as well as some cherries.

Smooth and a little spicy but with a lot of alcohol that had a negative impact on my opinion of the beer. The taste was sweet and boozy and the mouthfeel was medium to full bodied.

An average beer if truth be told, I did enjoy it but they alcohol was a little strong and although pleasant the sweetness and fruity flavours did little to mask it. The beer is a strong and boozy one that leaves you with a warming alcohol taste to it and it was easy enough to drink despite the alcohol.

Photo of WissBrauSean
4.04/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yup! The bottle is pretty cool! Old Tom gets points for being homebrew friendly!

I poured this beer at about 55 degrees and it seems to be just perfect. It pours a very dark amber in my tulip goblet shaped glass (I guess I should learn glassware names better) and leaves a nice tan head with a Friar Tuck cap in the center and pretty decent lacing.

Fruit esters first hit my nose right out of the bottle then in the glass malt sweetness predominates with notes of dark fruit, slight acidic bite, molasses, vanilla and a twinge of alcohol.

I thought this would taste more syrupy from the aroma, but it actually isn't overly sweet. The malt sweetness is the road that cherry, oak, vanilla and molasses ride on and finish in a mildly pepper parking lot. There is not a whole lot of bitter, but enough that it tames the sweetness a tad. Along the way alcohol is mildly noticeable becoming more apparent on the way down your gullet (warming is the nice way of putting it).

This beer is on the sweet side, but befitting of the style and the body is medium which is lighter than I had anticipated. The carbonation is light to moderate and there is a slight slimy and numb feeling on my tongue.

Overall, I think this beer is pretty incredible! If it is not world class, it has to be close. I do find it a touch on the sweet side and a little bit high on the alcohol, but that is part of the story of this beer. It is an attractive looking, smelling and tasting beer that is not hoppy and I am going to give it a solid 4 out of 5! Well done! I will seek this beer out and recommend it to others!

Photo of lackenhauser
3.92/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Rich, deep garnet color. Not much carbonation but a nice, slim tan head on top. Ok aroma-very malty and bready. Some dried fruit and a trace of alcohol. Big malty flavor. Plums and currants. Malty sweetness. Burnt treacle. Mild booziness. Nice sticky mouthfeel. Quite full. Damn fine UK strong all. Nicely priced as well. Will definately get this again. Bet it is lovely on draft.

Photo of JK4Stout
3.52/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A: If I were ranking the label and cap appearance it'd be a five straight up! Brilliant. This one isn't too far off either though. Looks like a good solid beer. Coloring similar to a scotch ale: nice mellow earthy brown. Good head.

S: A little burning tinge to the end here signals high APV. great malt notes of toffee.

T: Well, it is strong so it lives up to the name, but I was really hoping for something a little more here. I like the initial taste with fruity notes in there, but it falls short. Almost unfinished.

M: Heavy and lingering...(insert fat guy at buffet joke as you see fit)

O: I like it, but man it could be so much better. I wish it just had a little more malt to even out the alcohol content. enjoyable though...and I'm certainly saving the bottle.

Photo of khensley
4.39/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a nice beige head, which quickly dissipated, leaving no rings or lacing. Cola colored in appearance, no chill haze noticed.

Smelled like sour apple, with a hint of ginger. Made my mouth crave the next sip.

Taste is unique, plum dominates the palate, with a maltiness of blackened crisp pizza dough. Finishes with a warming alcoholic note and fades into a light pepperiness, much like a good Trippel might. Bitters can only be found when swallowed before the plum notes can take hold.

Mouthfeel is warm and inviting, surprising for such dull head retention. Not too thin, but not noticeably big at the same time.

Port-like in so many ways. Overall, a very rewarding bottle, as it should be for the $6.00 price tag. A once a year treat for me.

Photo of spointon
4.23/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

I poured this one from a stubby brown bottle that has raised lettering in the words "Old Tom" and "Strong Ale". Poured into a stemmed globe glass.

A= This ale poured a clear, reddish mahogany color showing an off white head that rose about 1/2" with a vigorous pour at cellar temp. The head dropped to a ring after a few minutes but showed nice retention and some stickage on the glass.

S= I first noted big aromas of treacle, molasses and rich malty sweetness. There is a nice chocolatey note in there too. Alcohol stays pretty well hidden. Some fruity ester showing fig and raisin. Really a star in the aroma department.

T= Begins with that treacle note on the tongue and then brings in some caramel malts, a hint of chocolate, and even a vinous character that adds complexity. Nice English yeast character throughout. Hop bitterness is there but doesn't get in the way of the malts. Esters are there as well, but the malts are the real star. Finishes pretty dry despite the earlier malty sweetness.

MF = lighter side of medium bodied, with an appropriately modest carbonation level. Overall impression is a soft feel on the palate.

D= Super high drinkability on this one. I find this to be an exceedingly enjoyable English old ale / winter warmer, and the drinkability combined with the hidden alcohol make this one deliciously dangerous!

Photo of heygeebee
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From Warner's. BB Aug 13

Pours a deep dark brown. Half finger tan head fades to a clumpy film.

Strong aromas of port, rum, brown sugar, and caramel. English malts to the fore. Little hop presence.

Taste is warmly alcoholic, making me think more rum in the barrel! Rum and brown sugar are dominant flavours in with the English malts. Alcohol starts to take over as it warms.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin for ABV. A little harsh on the back palate.

A good beer, but too alcoholic to be a very good one. Drink ability very much down by end.

Photo of mmapes
3.17/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Traded from Ben in York (thanks!)

Pours cola brown, but is much darker in the glass, a deep reddish brown. Not much head (the bottle is dated about 10.5 months ago). A second pour yields some fizz that dissipates quickly. Served at refrigerator temperature.

Smells mostly sweet and malty, maybe a little sour but not unpleasantly so. Vanilla? Very little hops or bitterness on the nose. Expected a sweet, smooth, carmelly, barleywine-ish flavor based on the smell.

Taste is a bit dryer and more astringent than I expected. Alcohol is very forward. At fridge temps, the flavor is pretty subtle compared to the booze, but I expect will be more interesting after warming up a bit.

As it warms, it grows on me. It has some interesting leather/tobacco notes. Still not very heavy for an 8.5% ale, so perhaps that's a balance some people will like.

Not really what I'm looking for in a strong ale -- I usually like something maltier, smoother, rounder, sweeter. This one is more mineral/alcohol/dry.

Photo of TMoney2591
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Haven't had a good ol'-fashioned British old ale in a while, so let's see how this one stacks up. It pours a deep garnet-brown topped by a finger of tan foam. The nose comprises molasses, black pepper, dark red wine grapes, light oak, and a pinch of clove. The taste brings in more of the same, along with a hint of tobacco and some extra pepper for the sake of it. The body is a light-leaning medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a fluid feel. Overall, a very nice old ale, one certainly worth re-visiting on a number of future occasions.

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Old Tom from Frederic Robinson Limited
84 out of 100 based on 159 ratings.